Tunstall High School, of Pittsylvania County had the honor of providing the color guard once again and, as before, in original World War II uniforms at the “Final Salute” ceremony, which was held in Bedford on Thursday in honor of D-Day. The color guard was made up of both Army Junior ROTC cadets and the school’s Civil Air Patrol cadet squadron.
Each cadet recognized the significance of the event and their opportunity to participate. Being part of the color guard had personal family significance for each of the cadets.
“This is the day that I’m sure the cadets will always remember,” Tunstall High School Senior Army Instructor/Lieutenant Colonel David King said. “It brings them closer in understanding the service and sacrifice of our veterans and that sacrifices have to made to preserve our liberties and our values.”
Civil Air Patrol Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Rorer Payne’s grandfather earned the Silver Star as a member of the 33rd Division which fought in the Pacific during World War II. Cadet Staff Sergeant Jesse Brooks’ grandfather served in the 82nd Airborne Division and both of his parents are Marine Corps Veterans.
Cadet Command Sergeant Major Logan Hutchinson’s father is also a veteran of the Marine Corps. Also, his grandfather served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam, and his great grandfather served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.
Cadet Senior Airman Jackson Kime’s relatives served in the U.S. Navy. As a result each of the services was represented by members of the color guards in both Normandy and Bedford, and the uniforms worn by the cadets reflected the cadets’ association with one of the S=services.
In addition to presenting the colors, the cadets provided the escort for U.S. Vice President Mike Pence before his speech at the ceremony. Cadet Rorer Payne, who commanded the color guard escorted the Vice President to the podium, while his fellow cadets flanked him during his speech with the National Colors and the Vice President’s Flag.
Each cadet was presented a Vice Presidential Coin in the tradition of services.
“This is a real honor, and being in JROTC for the past four years has given me this opportunity that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Cadet Lieutenant Colonel and recent Tunstall graduate, Quinton Murphy said.
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